Want to try new HCL Notes betas on Windows? Good luck!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021 at 7:21 PM UTC

This post is a result of a several hours lasting struggle to get the latest beta 2 of HCL Notes/Designer/Admin installed on a dedicated VM.

When the beta 2 was released a few days back I instantly downloaded every package available. I upgraded a Docker container for the server on my local machine (macOS) within 5 minutes. The client - well this is a different story for me every time, also with using Fixpacks.

The reason is NOT the installer that HCL is using (basic MSI stuff from InstallShield or whatever) but with the OS itself. You know me, Windows and I will never be friends and this is basically based on the ridiculous structure of it's registry.

The system I use

I have a dedicated Parallels VM on which I test all those new versions from HCL. This system used to use Windows 10 with all the latest fancy updates. I run Windows 11 preview for a while on another machine on which I already installed the beta 1 64bit client(s) to check them out - apart from problems in DDE itself they worked properly. Now with beta 2 I uninstalled the previous installation.

No, no, no, it's not uninstalled

Though I used the Windows-own uninstall process I could not get rid of the entry in the "installed programs" list. I repeated the process several times but I already wondered why I do not see a real uninstaller-program running when I did this for the second, third... time. Somehow the first attempt left some crap on my disk so the program ("HCL Notes 12 de") still appeared on the list.

Using the NICE tool

I always use the NICE tool to remove everything from the disk before I install a new version (except from the data directory). Usually this works perfectly and also cleans up the registry. It seems that the NICE tool is not aware of the 64bit version from beta 1, so it left some stuff in the registry.

Trying to install

Every time I tried to install beta 2, the process stopped immediately saying "the installation was interrupted". Well...

Checking the installed programs still showed the entry from the previous installation. I didn't document the registry key which should be removed but Microsoft got you covered: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/msi/uninstall-registry-key

But this wasn't enough: check the name of the installed program in the list and search for this exact term in the registry. If you find something, kill it. I think I found "the" entry in a different spot than the MS docs say.


After I removed it I again checked the list of installed programs and, voila, the entry of "HCL Notes 12 de" was gone. So I gave the beta 2 installer another try (the 12th I think...) and it worked! It took about 15 minutes and now I am back in the game.


It's not HCL's fault. It's the basic structure of Windows how it handles installed programs. It's a good idea to check the "HCLNotesInstall.log" file that is stored in your user's documents folder. In my case it said "This is an uninstall" when the installation failed - because it was one since the former version was not uninstalled in total. MSI, InstallShield - I hate them since they were introduces and this is why.

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